A youth empowerment solutions campaign called Say YES has been launched as a result of the shooting of School of the Nations Director Brian O’Toole, who Thursday gave details of the person who shot him and why he has not been made to account for it.
In January, Dr. O’Toole was shot three times while returning to his Bel Air residence from an emergency meeting with parents about violent threats on social media to injure students and teachers.
Now, he is taking the lead in a campaign with the Ministry of Social Protection to address the problems young people face.
Regarding his shooting, he gave details he knew.
“What happened to a sad little 17-year-old, who jumps out from the bushes and shoots three times with the intent to kill.
“What creates that?
“We are not going to give into bullies. It doesn’t matter what position you have in society, if you are the one that got your child out of the country the day after the shooting then you have created a monster.
“…it’s going to destroy his life, the lives of your family and if he is not brought to justice, God knows the mayhem that it’s going to cause.”
Dr. O’Toole believes that the shooting was a result of violent video games.
“I am 95 percent that the shooting was related to the horrible video game, Fortnite, which incidentally Prince Harry has now started a campaign in England to ban,” the he stated.
He noted that the shooting caused chaos and mayhem not just to Nations but to Queen’s, Bishop’s and the University of Guyana.
He said a significant change is needed in Guyana and all partners in youth development need to be determined and active to rid society of the current ills.
The challenges young people face were listed as alcohol, drugs, violence and bullying including cyber bullying.
The SAY YES campaign was launched at the British High Commissioner Greg Quinn’s residence in Bel Air, East Coast Demerara.
The High Commissioner encouraged adults to encourage the youths to have the confidence in their own ability to do what they should to empower themselves.
“Our youths are tired of old people like myself getting up and pontificating and telling them what they should do,” Dr. O’Toole said.
The campaign will be looking at ways to present the social challenges in a creative way to get the message across. Activities such as essay, jingle, art and poster competitions, dramas and stage photography will be part of the Say YES campaign.
Minister of Social Cohesion, George Norton said the development of young people remains a priority for the government.
The Minister said, “Let’s strengthen our young people so that they can help others and in turn build a better nation.”